Two men rescued after faulty GPS sees yacht run aground off Geraldton coast

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Two men were rescued after their yacht hit reef off the Abrolhos Islands.
Camera IconTwo men were rescued after their yacht hit reef off the Abrolhos Islands. Credit: Zoe Keenan/The Geraldton Guardian

An ordinary ocean voyage took a dangerous turn at the weekend when two men became stranded off the Geraldton coast after their vessel hit a reef.

Emergency services battled against the clock, strong winds and the dark to bring the captain and first mate of a 9m yacht to safety after the ship ran aground on rocks near the Abrolhos Islands.

The vessel’s emergency beacon was activated about 10pm on Sunday, with police locating the yacht and occupants about 30m offshore.

Geraldton police station officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt. Chris Martin said the vessel had been on its way to Carnarvon from Mindarie when disaster struck.

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“The captain’s GPS was slightly faulty so he was about 1km out from where he should be and he subsequently hit the rocks,” he said.

Sen. Sgt Martin said the men swam partway to the shore and police entered the water in heavy swells to assist them.

“I was really pleased to see that with our combined efforts with the water police and marine rescue volunteers, we managed to get both the captain and his friend to safety,” he said.

“They had some minor injuries. . . but overall it was a great outcome for everyone involved.”

He said the incident offered a timely reminder of the importance of carrying a registered emergency beacon while on the water.

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